From: Rockville Centre, NY
Wordsworth, Mirror Music (“Shoulder,” “One Day” and “Don’t Go.”)
Snoop, The Blue Carpet Treatment “Think About It” Ego Trip “Make It Good”
Ghostface Killah, Big Doe Rehab, “White Linen Affair”
EMC, “Feel It,” “Don’t Give Up On Us”
Nodfactor: “Think about It” was one of my favorite songs on The Blue Carpet Treatment. How did you first link up with Snoop?
Frequency: When I graduated from college I went to the Dynamic Producer conference and the organizer Felicia Booker gets A&Rs from all over the industry and exposes new producers to them. Mike Chavez, who was Snoop’s A&R, was on the panel and I gave him a CD. He walked away with a stack of like 300 CDs and I was like “I’m never gonna hear from him.” But 7 to 8 months later he called me and said one of my artists like this beat, just hang onto it. So I held it and about a year later he told me Snoop used it and recorded to it. I got to fly to L.A. to mix the song and I got to meet Snoop and it was so crazy. Especially that they sent me out to mix it. The way things go these days where you send people beats and you don’t really have any involvement in the song. Being a new producer and them wanting me to be involved in the sequencing of the song and mixing of the record [was good.] Perhaps they thought I was bigger than I was, when they asked me what studio I wanted to record in in L.A. and I had never even been to L.A. I met Ted Chung at Doggy Style Records and developed a relationship with him and that’s how I got on the second album. I have a pretty good relationship with them [now].
Isn’t that the beauty of the beats? They don’t know who did the beat, they just like the music. “Think About It” was one of my favorites on that record cuz Snoop is spitting his ass off.
Frequency: It was a lot different than the stuff he’d done. There isn’t even a hook on the record. Some of the people at the label might have put that out as a teaser single if it had a hook. It’s not really a radio song but I think it’s part of his catalog that will stand out.
You have songs with Wordsworth, Snoop and even Juganot. What’s the difference between working in the underground and the mainstream?
Frequency: The independent artists are a lot more accessible and it’s a lot easier to collaborate. Though I was there when Snoop mixed the record I wasn’t there when he recorded it giving him ideas. I just like doing different things. I’m really all over the spectrum. There are songs I’ve done that haven’t come out. I’ve [done] stuff with Lil Mama that didn’t make her album.
We’ll get more into that in a minute but “One Day” was one of my favorites off of The Mirror Music album. Do you DJ? Because your sample selection is really astute.
I started off DJing. That’s how I got into making beats. I still collect records but I’m starting to DJ some clubs. I’m also trying to move away from the sampling as much. I‘m still doing it but doing it more strategically.
How much does sampling eat into your bottom line?
I was lucky that Snoop’s people were willing to work with me to make sure I got a percentage of the record but unless you’re a big time producer who has some kind of clout where you can get a bigger percentage [it’s hard to negotiate that]. A lot of these producers that sample they may pay out of their pocket to the person that they’re sampling from to get a bigger percentage on the back-end. Someone like me can’t do that so I’m at the mercy of the whatever they want to do. And when the label is clearing samples they just want to make sure that the artist gets their 50 percent and don’t really care about the producer. Especially if it’s someone who is new or relatively unknown. It definitely eats into your money. I did a record for Keisha Cole that doesn’t use any samples.
So what do you use to fill in the sounds now?
I actually use Sample Tank. The reason I like their sound is because they use live sampled instruments; pianos, guitars and basses. They also have the Philharmonic, which is the strings. So if you start to layer things… They have a lot of low-fi filters. I’ll hear a sample and try to replay it or try and dirty it up so it sounds less “synthy.” It distorts it a little, compresses it, and makes it sound dirtier.
Are you an MPC guy or using software?
Yeah still use the MPC. Lately I’ll do the drums in the MPC and sometimes I’ll put the drums in Pro Tools and chop them there.
What have you learned as a producer coming up in the past few years?
It takes time. I’ve had a couple placements and it’s still an uphill battle. You gotta be persistent and do what you do. Sometimes I try to conform to people looking for beats but I try to maintain my style.
Speaking of the business, I understand you were hit with cease and desist over a remix to T-Pain’s “Can’t Believe It” that you did?
What you said pretty much explains it. We did the remix and it caught the attention of some people who weren’t happy. We weren’t selling it or anything it was just a fun thing to do. I was just having a good time with it.
The irony is that you’ve met T-Pain before at the W Hotel…
It’s funny how things come full circle. I was DJing at the W Hotel during Hip-Hop Honors and T-Pain was at the bar drinking a bottle of Louis XV by himself. I just went over and told him my name figuring it would be a five second conversation and he’d tell me to go away but he said he knew who I was and heard my music. We were talking for a while and he said that he wanted to do more of the producing thing, but it’s hard for him to sell his beats unless he’s on the hook. People weren’t getting the idea of the song unless he was on there to sell it, so it was an interesting conversation about perception.
Now back to that Lil Mama track. There was a song you did for her called “Body Rockin Music” that didn’t make her CD…
I had done a song with Lil Mama before she had gotten signed and she redid it with T-Pain. It’s a totally different beat but the verses she did with me are on that song, “Shorty Get Loose.” It’s just an interesting association. I just want him to hear the remix we did.
Jive, stop frontin! So what’s on the horizon?
I’ve been doing some stuff with Ja Rule and been able to work closely with him. Then of course 6th Sense, I started working with him when I was in H.S. I also have this R&B singer named MBusi. Trying to get him to write for some people. I’ve also been working with the Trackmasters, the Keisha Cole record and some things with Lil Kim.
Oh, boy. That sounds like another lawsuit…